Jason Dottley:: Now ’XXX’
Now that the dust is settling around the startling announcement of the marital split between award-winning playwright Del Shores ("Sordid Lives," "Southern Baptist Sissies") and Billboard Top 20 Recording Artist and actor Jason Dottley ("Party Round The World," "Sordid Lives: The Series"), Dottley is letting no moss grow under his professional feet.
At present he's preparing to debut a new one-man show at San Francisco's premiere nightclub and cabaret space, the Rrazz Room, on January 7 entitled "XXX: My First 30 Years (Get Your Mind Outta The Gutter)."
With the new year and new beginnings in his personal life also comes a new direction in his stage work. Under the production of his JD3 company, Dottley will venture into something we haven’t seen in his previous shows, notably his Nation of Jason Tour in 2011, which showcased his musical talents with his Billboard hit songs "Party Round The World" and "Hit Play," and his recently released "Pop It."
XXX will take Dottley into the genre of storytelling as he shares the good, bad, ugly and obviously funny parts of his life over the past 30 years. Coming off a rigorous video shoot (for the third time, mind you) for his latest single "Pop It," I caught up with Jason while on a stroll with his loving pooch in West Hollywood.
Jason shared with me how his ’XXX’ show came about, the type stories we can expect to hear from him on stage, what you may walk away learning from the show, and what’s next after his commitment to his latest single Pop It.
A little bit controversial
Jason Dottley: I shot my official "Pop It" video yesterday. It’s spectacular, but I shot for 14 hours, and I haven’t done that in awhile. It was fun, and I never felt tired until I woke up this morning. I said to myself, oh I’m so tired.
BeBe: Is the concept of the video the same (as previous shoots)?
Jason Dottley: Oh, no! It started off with one concept where I had some specific things I wanted to accomplish, but then it got into something that will be a little bit controversial with a bit of insanity. But I won’t give anything away.
BeBe: You know what’s a little controversy? You’ve been through that before.
Jason Dottley: It’s the best thing in the world, as far as I’m concerned. I’m really glad that I abandoned the other two because they weren’t up to par. This was by far the most professional thing I have ever done in terms of a music video. It’s going to be exciting. I’m finally very confident about the whole thing.
BeBe: That’s great! Because you’ve had a real busy year in 2011 with your Nation of Jason Tour in various cities across the country, and sitting as Celebrity Grand Marshall for New Orleans Pride. But you have some other things in store for 2012 outside of the "Pop It" video release.
Jason Dottley: Yes, world domination! Well things start off January 7 with my very first one-man show. I’m debuting it in San Francisco at the Rrazz Room, which I’ve decided is my official home in San Francisco. It’s called "XXX: My First 30 Years (Get Your Mind Outta The Gutter)," and will be a fun evening of storytelling with some crazy things that have happened in my life tied in how being gay has painted my journey. Sort of a celebration of that. And then I got lucky and was able to have this local celebrity drag chanteuse open the show for me with a bit of song. I think you know her... BeBe Sweetbriar? (we both roar with laughter)
BeBe: Oh gosh, little oh me?
Jason Dottley: So, yes, your my guest performer in this show that I hope will develop into a tour show around the country.
Watching and learning
BeBe: Where did the whole concept come from of you doing somewhat of a conversational show rather than a show of music which we have become accustomed to with you? This is different for you. Did reaching thirty spark something to begin sharing with your audience about your life and how you have come to where you are, or was this always in the back of your mind to do at some point in your career?
Jason Dottley: I’ve always had a desire and found a way to do things solo on stage. But in the past that hasn’t always been something I’ve been able to do. I was very blessed to be able to watch Leslie Jordan ("Sordid Lives," "Will and Grace," and "The Help") go from crafting his very first one-man show ("Hysterical Blindness") all the way to taking it to off-Broadway and London. I was able to watch and learn, and be apart of Del Shore’s developing his first one-man show ("My Sordid Life") and evolving into stand up.
Through watching these people, it sort of opened my mind up creatively into how I could also utilize stage space alone and tell a story. I just knew that I didn’t want to do what either of them do, per se. I really enjoy sharing about my life. I have some pretty stories. And I thought, you know what? Life is not promised to you forever. So I developed this idea.
And as far as the number 30 is concerned, quite frankly, I had been toying with the name for this one-man show for awhile and thinking about the fact that it was about my last 30 years, and realized that XXX was 30 in Roman numerals and also synonymous in American culture with something very sexual and provocative, or pornography. So I sort of embraced that (laughs). It sounds better than my first 31 years. So cheers to that. Thank you Rihanna!
BeBe: You have been quite an open celebrity about things that have happened to you to your fans and to the public. You definitely have not let anything censor yourself in the past when it comes to your thoughts and opinions. But this is a little bit more personal. How did you decide what stories you were willing to share with us? How much thought did you put into opening yourself up this much?
Jason Dottley: I am pretty open. I say what I feel and I sometimes reap the repercussions for doing so, but what I’m a little afraid of, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do it, is to have people receive or not receive your work and it be based upon your own life experiences is a bit of an odd pill to swallow.
Here I am laying my life out, some mostly funny an some sad and heartfelt, and you aren’t really grading me on whether you can dance to this or was it a good (acting) scene. People are going to be reviewing and taking away from this show kind of a critique of parts of my life I’ve chosen to share. And that’s kind of an odd thought. But you know what? I’ve stepped into shit before, so I’m going to step on in it again.
BeBe: As your dog is being walked! I like that.
Jason Dottley: I hope that is not some kind of Freudian slip and I have shit on my shoe in my near future.
BeBe: Well, I do know that in the some of the things I’ve read leading up to the show that you plan on sharing some of the influences you have had which has lead to the type of music you have chosen to do, including the concepts of your music videos. So there seems to be a tie in to what people know of you, and what has helped mold what we know of you. It sounds like this show will give your audience a wider understanding of what is behind the musician Jason Dottley as well.
Jason Dottley: I assume that since this is my first one (one-man show) that people will walk away with a few ’aha’ moments into understanding why I sometimes spontaneously combust about a certain issue. The root of my behavior may be more easily understood. I hope to be inspired by my audiences reactions to my stories, and I hope they are inspired by my stories.
And I’ve got some funny ones too that are just skin deep about basically stalking outside of Britney Spears’ house, and being on stage with Rue McClanahan and her giving me hives. There will be stories I’ve never told publicly before that I think collectively people will enjoy hearing. A few stories are sort of embarrassing. I make a fool out of myself with pride!
Apples and oranges
BeBe: So you are not singing in the show at all?
Jason Dottley: I really toyed with that a lot. I won’t be doing any music in the show. I wanted to keep the apple and oranges very separate. I know everybody loves music, and that is why I asked you, someone local to join me. And as I take the show on the road, I probably will continue to use this formula. You know it’s a new year, and January 7th will mark my 12th year anniversary of pursuing this dream of mine. It’s a rather special time for me. I will have just turned 31 with my birthday being on December 30th. I’m just excited.
BeBe: Now that you are embarking upon this stage, one-man show thing, where does your film and television career fit into all of this because that is where your fans first got to know you?
Jason Dottley: It is so funny that you mention that because they way I start off my music video for "Pop It" that I just shot, all that I do, is an extension of my acting work. In this business that I’m in, you can create a lot of acting opportunities for yourself, but it is hard to create an Octavia Spencer (Golden Globe nominated actress of "The Help," "Ugly Betty") career changing type opportunities.
My video actually starts off with a short acting scene. So, I created the opportunity in my life where I got to act today. And the problem I come across with getting more acting work, I’m never home to audition for things. I’m on the road all the time. So until I finish my commitment to "Pop It," my agent can’t really submit me for things. It (acting) hasn’t stopped or I haven’t forgotten about it. I just have my focus switched for a second. You know once you enter the ballgame, you got to finish playin’. In my life plan there is a whole lot of acting ahead of me.
Jason Dottley with special guest BeBe Sweetbriar will appear in "XXX: My First 30 Years (Get Your Mind Outta the Gutter)" at the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco on January 7 for ONE NIGHT ONLY! For tickets and information www.therrazzroom.com.
Follow Jason on twitter at www.twitter.com/jasondottley and his website www.NationofJason.com.
As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media’s next short film series, "Con-tin.u.um" to be released in 2012.